Soup with Country Ham and Cabbage

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Soup with Country Ham and Cabbage
  1. Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan. Add onion and fry until soft, about 5 minutes. Add country ham and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add chicken stock and potatoes; make sure potatoes are completely covered by the stock. Throw in thyme sprigs and bring to a boil.

  2. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes. Remove and discard thyme sprigs. Add cabbage and mix well; the liquid no longer needs to cover the cabbage-potato mix. Bring back to a boil.

  3. Cover and reduce heat; simmer until the thickest parts of the cabbage are softened, 5 to 10 more minutes. Taste, then season with salt and pepper if needed.

  4. Mix water and cornstarch in a small bowl and add slowly to the soup. Mix well and cook until soup is about the consistency of heavy cream or desired thickness; it should not be too thick. Cook for 2 to 3 more minutes before serving.

Cook’s Notes:

Don’t substitute ordinary American bacon or pancetta in this recipe; it produces too much fat and you get little meat left. The uncooked country ham breakfast slices work well or proper, dry-cured, smoked Irish or English bacon. If you can get unsliced bacon or gammon and dice it into chunks, so much the better as it will retain the flavor more during the cooking.

If you really don’t like the idea of leaving the skins on the potatoes you can peel them, but they give the soup a heartier feel and the skins contain additional vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber.
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You can use regular white or green cabbage instead of Savoy cabbage, but it will need a little more time to cook.

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